Jazz guitar licks: C major blues scale

Jazz Guitar Blues: Improvisation

Five Exercises to develop jazz soloing on the 12-bar blues form (for all levels)

Learn these 5 basic exercises to practice jazz guitar blues improvisation.In this video, you’ll learn how to use different scales to fit the blues progression (in Bb) for soloing purposes. We start slowly, and then get to 5, 7 and 9-note scales in eight and sixteenth-notes:

“Regular” Blues Scale

In this first step, we’ll use the typical minor blues scale. This is the basic blues/rock sound we’re all used to hear.

The Major Blues Scale

In the second step, you’ll find out about the so-called major blues scale. It has some sort of a country/southern flavor to it. 🙂


In steps 3 and 4, we’ll examine the basic arpeggios on each of the chords of the blues form (1-3-5-7). Also note that guide-tones (just the 3rd and 7th) are crucial in the process of creating nice jazz guitar blues lines. Some neat soloing ideas come from simply ornamenting around the guide-tones.


And finally, in steps 5 A, B and C, we’ll use diatonic (7-note) scales for the purpose of soloing. Those are great exercises to build your rhythmic confidence in playing 8th-notes while soloing.

Further Practicing

Remember, this is just “practicing” your jazz guitar blues soloing. You would never actually play like this at a jam session! You have to prepare/exercise in the practice room, and then improvise, be creative and “let go” when soloing on the bandstand! This video deals with the former.

Check out this (more recent) video on how to alternate between the major and minor pentatonic blues scale. In fact, this following video is like a hands on how-to for Steps 1 and 2 above.

Was this page helpful? Let us know!